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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… The Clientele January 18, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Here’s a group it took me a long long time to make my mind up about. They’re English, produce guitar based music in a very melodic style. Their sound can best be summed up as indie-pop, in the sense of the latter term referring to a very traditional, Beatles-like definition of same (and in that respect they remind me a little of the post-Terry Bickers House of Love). Comprised of singer/guitarist Alasdair MacLean, bassist James Hornsey and drummer Mark Keen, with at various times other contributors and members most notably multi instrumentalist Mel Draisey

Across the last decade or two they’ve released five albums proper, a compilation or two of early materials and while they were on hiatus, they released their last album about three years back.

It’s odd though ‘Since K Got Over Me’, the rocky ‘Garden at Night’ and ‘Joseph Cornell’ are classics, but others songs strayed across a line in my head into the overly twee and overly melodic. Someone I know commented that the odd song here and there sounds like ‘Season’s in the Sun’, and it’s true, there’s that sort of atmosphere of some tracks which may or may not be a good thing. Fantastic Something, of the 1980s was a reference point in my head. So, every once in a while I’d listen to the albums, nod appreciatively at the sheer loveliness of so many of the songs and the real sense of musicians thinking and feeling about the melodies and then move on. Until the last six months or so when I was flicking through tracks on the iPod and gave one album a listen, and then another, and yep, somehow it had all clicked.

There’s something about their vision – melancholy, autumnal, reflective, you can add your own description, that is very compelling. Tracks like ‘I hope I Know You’ have this surface melodicism, but there’s a point about a minute and twenty seconds in when they throw in various sounds and vocal snippets which just elevate the song. Similarly with ‘The Garden at Night’ which in less than two minutes sort of captures the more bohemian side of the 60s in a fond homage. The songs are intensely atmospheric, but that’s built up from layered sounds,

The tracks that are great are truly great and this goes for most of the songs on the albums, indeed the selection is so wide rather than fixing on a single album I’ve culled tracks from the entirety of their career. I’m fond of the way in which they reference other melodies too (perhaps most cheekily on Isn’t Life Strange). If I had to I’d recommend their most recent album, Music for the Age of Miracles from 2017, where their sound is broadened out yet further, or Strange Geometry from 2005. But really any of the albums is really well worth diving into.
I’m very glad I kept listening to them over the last fifteen years.

Since K Got over Me

The Garden at Night

Joseph Cornell

Here Comes the Phantom

Graven Wood

Everything You See is Different from Itself

Everyone you meet

Since K Got Over Me – Live


1. Bartholomew - January 18, 2020

Lovely stuff, WBS, thank you. ‘Strange Geometry’ and ‘God save the Clientele’ have been favourites in our house for years. They are perfect for a certain mood. You say ‘add your own description’, I’d go for wistful and nostalgic. That’s a lovely video in the park at the end – I’d never seen their faces and also had no idea that there was a female member.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2020

Ah that’s fantastic Bartholomew to know you’re a fan as well. Been listening to them all day and want to listen to more! They make fine videos too, I love the one with the streets it captures that wistful nostalgia you mention so well.


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